More on Bogtec

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Pat Swords has a post on Bishop Hill on Bogtec. Pat reveals (1) that the European Commission intends to pay for part of the infrastructure and (2) that the European Commission does not have or does not want to share the impact assessment that shows that such an investment is indeed a wise investment.

See also Bogtec and Bogtec (ctd)

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40 Responses to “More on Bogtec”

  1. Peter Stapleton Says:

    The wind-power advocates base their claims on how much energy their turbines can send out when when the wind is blowing (and this not too strongly).
    How about a day like today when the country is in a typical late-winter high pressure system and calm conditions prevail?
    Is there anywhere one can find out how much of our needs are being met by wind power now?
    The more dependent we become on wind power the greater the marginal cost of generating energy from the back-up system.

  2. Sarah Carey Says:

    According to Garret Blaney from the CER 18%, but he wants 40%.

    We did this on my show this morning if you want to listen back

    http://www.newstalk.ie/High-ESB-bills-Blame-the-Germans-

    Interesting that no one here much interested in nuclear but because Germany is winding downs its nuclear power stations, it’s putting huge pressure on gas prices.

  3. grumpy Says:

    @Sarah

    “Interesting that no one here much interested in nuclear but because Germany is winding downs its nuclear power stations, it’s putting huge pressure on gas prices.”

    I understand there is a watching brief at the Department, in case the Germans stick one or two up on Donedeal if they are finding them a bit hard to shift.

  4. colm mccarthy Says:

    Peter Stapleton:

    The data is up on Eirgrid’s website by quarter-hour and in real time. Current wind output 18 MW (20.00 hrs) and falling. Not a lot these last few weeks.

  5. grumpy Says:

    @Colm, Peter,

    If you lob that data, say for 12 months, into a quick excel chart, and expand it along the x-axis so you can actually discern the pattern, it nicely illustrates the requirement for something rather more reliable.

    Is there much scope for pumped hyroelectric capacity, along the lines of the one in Anglesey, in the Republic?

  6. Peter Stapleton Says:

    Thanks Colm.

    Am I right is relating that figure of 18 MW to a peak demand of over 4000 MW? If so, the implications for reliance on wind energy seems stark.

  7. grumpy Says:

    @Peter

    Over a year there are loads of peaks at 1400. There are also loads of near 0′s.

    The average over that time is 485MW.

  8. John Foody Says:

    @ All

    Remember the Bogtec proposal as I understand is to essentially extend the UKs national Transmission infrastructure in to the least windy parts of Ireland. Also build thousands of MASSIVE turbines, double/triple the size of the ones you might see along the west coast (where it’s windy). Nothing I’ve read so far on this inspires me with confidence. In fact, so far the 2 mile Borris casino looks better in terms of the cost/benefit ratio.

    A different discussion is our energy policy as a country. We are unique in our ambition with wind, AVERAGE of 40% of all electricity demand will be met by wind in 2020. This poses huge challenges, as the infrequent asynchronous power of wind is tough to mange without heavy use of curtailment for wind farm owners ( which can and is done all the time). Eirgrid (Transmisison operator) and ESB (Distribution manager and Transmission/Distribution asset owner) think they can and probably will meet this 40% target.

    However the €500m interconnector (Eirgrid owned, unlike rest of Transmission network) will be a help with the curtailment (and other) issue(s), but despite being built is yet to be availed off due to a design issue causing interference on a large number of local landline phones. Something I’m sure they’ll sort out, but quit embarrassing.

  9. Mickey Hickey Says:

    Nuclear stations are the true blue base supply running continuously.
    Nuclear would constitute 70% or so of the peak power required. Wind, water, gas, coal (shudder) or turf are suited to variable demand power supply.

    The argument I get from Irish people is that the Irish (private/public) cannot be trusted to build a reliable and safe nuclear generating station. There are at least five companies that can build and operate a secure and reliable nuclear generating station under contract to the Irish Gov’t. An arms length arrangement can be ensured.

    This of course would cost FG/FF the green and near green as well as the paranoid vote. So we can look forward to the upland bog and everything that can produce heat going up in smoke.

    Sure ’tis a pity.

  10. veronica Says:

    @ Mickey,

    There’s no political or public support for nuclear in Ireland. So even if there was a clear cut case for including nuclear build in our energy options – which there isn’t, rather the opposite – it’s a non-runner. Meanwhile, this Reuters piece on the prospects for Irish oil exploration is quite good fun, in a Mickawberish sort of way, as a comment on official thinking about our energy policy:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/27/ireland-oil-idUSL6N0BJC9A20130227

    @Richard,

    Thanks for posting about this intriguing EU ‘angle’ on Bogtec. If, instead, the proposal was to build a big nuke station in the midlands bogs to supply the British market, would it invite closer media and public scrutiny?

  11. Peter Stapleton Says:

    @John Foody:

    Thanks for that. Your comment shows how important it is to understand both the economics and the engineering of the energy issue.

    You say that “as the infrequent asynchronous power of wind is tough to mange without heavy use of curtailment for wind farm owners (which can and is done all the time)”.

    Does this mean that when it is plentiful the supply of power from wind farms to the grid has to be choked off? If so, what does this do to the economics of wind farms?

    Accord to Dieter Helm the load factor for onshore wind farms in the UK averages less than 25%. As you point out, our official target is to supply an average of 40% from wind. Does mean that we would have to have an installed wind capacity of 160% of average load to meet this target?

  12. Richard Tol Says:

    @Sarah, Grumpy, Mickey, Veronica
    Nuclear provides baseload power. Irish electricity demand supports a single baseload plant only. The current baseload plant, Moneypoint, will cease production between 2020 and 2025, but ESB is keen to push this date forward.

    It’s 2013. It takes 10-15 years to build a nuclear power plant. As nuclear power is illegal at the moment, and the public is against, it probably would take the same amount of time to obtain planning permission for a nuclear power plant. In the optimistic case, Ireland would have nuclear power by 2033 — and would thus have to do without baseload for 8 or more years.

    Nuclear in Ireland will not happen before Moneypoint’s successor retires, which would be in 2065 or so.

  13. EWI Says:

    So the substance of this post was to drive traffic to a noted local climate change curmudgeon’s post on a rabid anti-science site? Interesting.

  14. Sarah Carey Says:

    @Peter

    It’s “choked off” i.e. exported via the interconnector.

    I think the problem is that when there isn’t wind, where do we get extra? This relates back to Richard’s point about the baseline and Moneypoint….We won’t get a nuclear power station in Ireland but I guess we’ll either be
    a) importing it from the UK
    or
    b) paying higher and higher prices for gas until this German election is done with and Angela, free of electoral pressure from the Greens, powers back up their nuclear stations.

    @Colm

    I’m trying to read those tables and charts at Eirgrid and failing :-)
    Are we hitting the 20%?

  15. Richard Tol Says:

    @EWI
    My position has always been that adults can and should make up their own mind as to what they want to read and want to believe.

    Your argument, that Pat Swords is wrong because he is friendly with Andrew Montford, does not cut wood logically, and is morally objectionable in many ethical systems.

  16. Richard Tol Says:

    @Sarah
    Ireland is hitting the 20% and more.

    EirGrid gives instantaneous penetration. For average penetration, see SEAI.

  17. Sarah Carey Says:

    @Richard

    thanks.

  18. Ossian Smyth Says:

    Drax is a 4GW coal power station in North Yorkshire generating nearly enough electricity to power Ireland. They are converting three of their six generators to run on biomass. So this is a possible future for Moneypoint.

    On the upside you would have a carbon neutral, domestic fuel source, a working example in Drax to copy, and risk reduction through diversification of power sources.

    On the downside, you would have lack of local experience, EROEI concerns – particularly if biomass is imported and a lack of local farms growing biomass (miscanthus/willow).

    A video about the Drax conversion project is here:
    http://www.draxgroup.plc.uk/biomass/cofiring_plans/transformbusiness/

    Regarding the story above that “the the European Commission intends to pay for part of the infrastructure”…My understanding is that the EU has not chosen which projects to fund, rather they have allocated a general budget of €5.1bn for gas and electricity interconnector projects to encourage trade and balance renewable energy across the EU. All that exists so far is a list of applications for consideration for funding.

    The recent East-West interconnector was subvented by a €110m grant form the EU.

    More transparency in the future decision making process and justification for choices is welcomed by all, surely.

  19. Mickey Hickey Says:

    It appears to me we are into the same self congratulatory, navel gazing, magical thinking closed loop that permeated the CT years.
    When the majority of us are huddled in the dark without heat or fuel for cooking then we will wake up to the nightmare that stems from magical thinking
    Any day now a leading politician will comment on the looming energy crisis and say the naysayers should electrocute themselves while they still have the energy. Black humour was invented for us Irish. It fills the void normally filled by rational thought.

  20. EWI Says:

    @ Richard

    My position has always been that adults can and should make up their own mind as to what they want to read and want to believe.

    So in your view science is just a matter of opinion? No wonder economists have such a bad name. This is not an “adult” view to be promoting for someone who now occupies a well-paid academic post.

  21. EWI Says:

    @ Mickey Hickey

    It appears to me we are into the same self congratulatory, navel gazing, magical thinking closed loop that permeated the CT years.
    When the majority of us are huddled in the dark without heat or fuel for cooking then we will wake up to the nightmare that stems from magical thinking

    Renewables (with greater efficiency) are the only option if we don’t want catastrophic climate change from carbon-based fuel sources.

    We also don’t use asbestos or lead these days, though I’m certain there were plenty of industry-funded ‘experts’ to muddy the waters on those for as long as possible.

  22. Richard Tol Says:

    @EWI
    Most certainly not. Enlightenment has that you make up your own mind rather than follow authority.

  23. Mickey Hickey Says:

    Wind farms are controversial in most countries. One solution seems to be to locate them on land already owned by farmers. The farm gets an up front incentive and trailer fees for the life of the project based on the sold output of each tower on the property.

    Wolfe Island, Ontario was a very divisive project opposed by granola eaters, academics from nearby Queens University, bird lovers and Greens nationwide . It went through due to land owner support. So get outta da bog and on to marginally fertile land.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfe_Island_Wind_Project

  24. EWI Says:

    @ Richard Tol

    9/11 conspiracy theorists, free-market pundits, Intelligent Design believers and the like thank you for your support, obviously.

    But for the rest of us…

  25. Mickey Hickey Says:

    @EWI

    I am all in favour of renewables. What people do not realise is that on the coldest nights of the year there is no wind. On longest nights of the year there is the double whammy of coldest and darkest time of the year.

    Cost effective energy storage has not evolved much from the “storage heaters”, heating elements embedded in cast concrete designed to store the excess output of Ard na Crusha overnight. The same old lead acid accumulator from the dawn of the electric age is still in common use. We now have Litium and its derivates which are highly efficient but very costly.

    I talk to Germans who are appalled at Angela Merkels knee jerk reaction to Fujushima. Shutting down Germany’s nuclear reactors in the hope that “renewables” would fill the void is now turning into a high cost nightmare. Granted the Germans I talk to are centre right, it will take the Greens some time to face reality but it will intrude in the not too distant future.

    As we say in Kerry “To hell with poverty we will kill a duck and if that’s not enough we will foot some turf.”.

  26. Brian Woods Snr Says:

    Its about the amount of nett energy available for use once you have paid off all your energy input costs: the energy returned on the energy invested. Coal and oil returns are the highest (they are primary sources – but finite). Nat gas (and LPGs) are useful but have lower energy densities that coal and gas. Hence you burn more of them by comparison with coal and oil. Biofuels start off as primaries but require so much energy inputs to produce usable fuels that they end up with nett negative returns. Alcohol has been available to humans for thousands of years, but has never been adapted to an energy fuel.

    Nuclear (thorium reactors) have better returns but still is dependent on an input of fossil fuel. Politically unacceptable at the moment. But wait!

    Re-usables, re-newables or whatever will never fill anything but a temporary gap in our fossil fuel energy menu. We will only ‘discover’ this the hard way.

  27. EWI Says:

    @ Mickey Hickey

    Solar and others fill in gaps, obviously. There have been extraordinary advances made in recent years. In the States advances in renewables efficiency – far quicker by a magnitude over what it historically took carbon fuels to achieve, mind you – mean that parity of cost isn’t far off (I wonder at the affected amnesia in some quarters in relation to that historical view, actually).

    The most pressing need is a good battery technology to even out the peaks and the troughs – Turlough Hill, Mk CCC or whatever.

  28. Sarah Carey Says:

    Turlough Hill! My parents brought us on a tour of it yeeeaaars ago. Can you still visit it? It seemed very James Bond to us at the time…..

    One interesting off-air remark from a contributor enlightened me on one point…

    in the US landowners own what is under the ground, so the incentive to go fracking etc is high since the landowner benefits.

    in Yurope, the state owns everything under the ground (including ALLEGEDLY the ground water! but I’ll fight to the death on that one), so there’s no financial incentive for landowners to extract fuel, by methods safe or possibly dodgy….

  29. Richard Tol Says:

    @Sarah
    Your contributor is correct, also about groundwater. Royalties on private wells are not in the agreement with the Troika, though.

  30. Sarah Carey Says:

    If I got a rainwater tank, would they own that water too?

  31. Richard Tol Says:

    The rain that falls on your land is yours, also if you store it.

  32. Sarah Carey Says:

    search: buy very large tank….

  33. Brian Woods Snr Says:

    @ EWI: “In the States advances in renewables efficiency – far quicker by a magnitude over what it historically took carbon fuels to achieve, mind you – mean that parity of cost isn’t far off …”

    Parity of cost? Hmmm? All non-fossil fuel energy generation sources have to use some element of fossil fuel as part of their overall process. Hence they will always be economically more costly (financially) than any bare fossil fuel. However, as I wish to re-iterate, its the energy costs that are the critical rate-limiting, costs – not the pecuniary ones. Do we have to learn this the ‘hard way’ also?

    Most folk are clueless about energy generation. Its for ubernerds only!

  34. EWI Says:

    @ Brian Woods

    Amazingly enough, fossil fuels actually used to get fossil-fuels out of the ground, fight wars over it and get it to your power generator of choice. I know, I was astounded to learn this too.

    And apart from all the above, the carbon-extraction industry and its associated activities enjoy many billions of other subsidies.

  35. Brian Woods Snr Says:

    @EWI: “… the carbon-extraction industry and its associated activities enjoy many billions of other subsidies.”

    They sure do. And the customer (and taxpayer) picks up the tab. There is some evidence available that netted out, the Big Oils do contribute more revenue to US government than they get by way of ‘incentives’. Maybe.

    Folks like their hot dinners, and lots of other stuff. So expect this energy thingy to get nastier as the supply increase falters and demand (absent a global downturn – which looks promising!) increases. If this occurs expect real panic measures – and that will mean the environment gets trashed. Its happened before – with somewhat less developed nations. No particular reason not to expect it to happen to us too. We are not that far away from our energy margin – and inching closer. Take a while though.

  36. Mickey Hickey Says:

    @EWI
    The use of the word solar should be forbidden in Ireland.

    To save hay you need 4 days within a week with little rain and a few hours of sunshine each day. The number of years when that does not occur and the quality of the saved hay is compromised is about 3 out of 5 years.

    This past year there were over fifty consecutive days on which rain fell during which silage which needs 24 hours without rain and a couple of hours of sunshine could not be harvested.

    Ireland is a country with high rainfall, above average cloud cover, good wind along the coasts and moderate bordering on low temperatures.

    No matter how efficient photovoltaic panels become they will not be cost effective in Ireland.

    Global warming will bring higher rainfall, more cloud cover and slightly higher temperatures to Ireland.

  37. Brian Woods Snr Says:

    @ MH: “No matter how efficient photovoltaic panels become they will not be cost effective in Ireland.”

    Correct (in pecuniary cost) but there ‘may’ be a case for small scale, individual installations (an iffy maybe). Commercial or large domestic scale installations in Ireland would be a complete waste of space, effort and money. But those Snake-oil salespersons are ‘on-the-job’! They smell those taxpayer subsidies like sharks smell blood in the water.

    There might be greater utility in an extended campaign to get folk to recognise our levels of energy ‘waste’ and to encourage greater awareness of prudent conservation measures. Kids and adolescents have a well developed sense of fairness and are open to persuasion (not paternalistic indoctrination) along these lines. Could be done.

  38. Sarah Carey Says:

    @BWSnr, MH etc

    So, that guy who called to my house with the leaflets and the details of the subsidy and the good story about solar – should I ignore him?
    A pal has solar and says they have plenty of hot water.

    Is it all hot air?

  39. Richard Tol Says:

    @Sarah
    It all depends. Solar boilers cost between 800 and 1300 euro per person. The subsidy is 800 euro per household. I forgot how many kids you have, and I never knew how much time you guys spend in the shower or what you currently use to heat your water.

    Without kids and oil heating, solar is probably a good investment. With plenty kids and gas heating, it probably is not.

  40. Brian Woods Snr Says:

    @ Sarah: “Is it all hot air?” “Noooooo, its er, hot water”.

    Sorry about the black humour – I got a real good laugh. Thanks.

    I presume you are referring to a solar heating panel (with circulating water) not a photovoltaic panel. The former have their uses, the latter also but in a quite limited fashion at our latitude.

    It comes down to a careful analysis of your needs – now and in future (as far as you can foresee anyway). Look at your existing domestic water system. If you can harvest rainwater in sufficient quantity (3000 l) then you may be able to avoid using a well or the district supply, but you would need a suitable pumping system to fill your cold water cisterns. You could also install a smaller rain-water harvester, with filters, to give you potable water.

    In respect of your domestic hot water supply I am assuming you lag every piece of bare pipe to minimize heat loss. Ditto for HW cylinder. Check your ESB bills and see if you can guesstimate the water heating part. This should give you a better idea of the nominal saving – if any, you will get by installing a solar water heating panel which needs the Sol for best results! And it also needs a pump to circulate the water and maybe a large HW cylinder with a dual circulation system. More electrons! So, in the best traditions of economics its not the pecuniary cost, its the Opportunity Cost. Good luck!

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